Monday, March 19, 2018

D&D Had its Biggest Sales Year in 2017

Dungeons & Dragons had its best sales year since it was acquired from TSR Inc. by game publisher Wizards of the Coast in 1997, the company confirmed to SYFY WIRE.

What I find most interesting is how D&D has moved from being perceived as some weird hobby that nerds played in their parent's basement to an activity anyone can enjoy without being stigmatized.
The game gained an international stage with the release of Netflix's Stranger Things in the summer of 2016, as its main characters play Dungeons & Dragons regularly. Tito calls the show "another data point in the zeitgeist." It has also shown up on other popular TV programs like The Big Bang Theory and The Goldbergs. Even Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon hosts a show called HarmonQuest, which is heavily inspired by Dungeons & Dragons. His former show, Community, also had two episodes solely devoted to playing the game.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Fantasy Map Drawing Practice

I've been practicing my fantasy map drawing skills in a sort of "Tolkienesque" style for upcoming projects (including Hawkmoor and Graymoor among others).

For the names I used a little technique that I had a whole post planned for about using Google translate for generating your own fantasy language, but as I was writing it out I realized there wasn't really enough there for a full post. Basically just choose a language on Google Translate you think sounds interesting and appropriate for your world and type in the English word you want translated and taduh! You have a language to use for your fantasy world. Tweak a few of the consonants and vowels if you like.

What I did here was chose Icelandic and just typed in things like "Mountain Peaks" and "Water Port" to get names for my map. Sounds so Viking!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

Beastie: Pegasoar

Magical Beast
HD 4
AC 13
Atk 1d8x2 (talons)
Save 13
Move 24/60
CL/XP 4/120
Special: flying
A distant relative of the pegasus, a pegasoar is a horselike creature with wings instead of front legs, and eagle like talons on it’s back legs. They are extremely graceful in flight and more swift than most other large winged beasts.

They are even more difficult to train than a pegasus and not as large or strong, they can only carry a light unarmored rider. Even though they are generally peaceful animals they can be trained to be fierce. Once they bond to an owner they are exceedingly loyal and protective.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Beastie: Miniature Ogre

Ogre, Miniature
HD 6
AC 15
Atk ML 1d6x2 (tiny fists), or by weapon type
Save 11
Move 9
CL/XP 9/1000
Special: Surprise opponents on a 1-5 on d6

Miniature ogres have been ensorcelled and shrunk to a tiny size, yet they maintain their strength. The strange sorcery that miniaturizes them also compacts their brains into a more organized and intelligent manner making them relatively smart for an ogre.

Miniature ogres measure only a few inches high, so can be difficult to spot, particularly when they are hiding. At best there is a 1 in 10 chance of spotting.

The occasional wizard may have a token miniature ogre as a novelty, more often they are found in small packs of 2-12.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Beasties of Norse Mythology

Over on my other channels where I promote my artwork on Instagram and Facebook I've been posting these fun little explorations of creatures from Norse mythology. I'm creating a little alphabet book, the style is a tad more whimsical than I normally draw. I'm also experimenting with a coloring method that is similar to how the Hellboy comics are colored, with my own style added to it.

I haven't written up any gaming stats for them, but I'm considering it. Just takes time and I'm already spinning a lot of plates right now.

A is for Aptrgangr. The 'again-walker' also known as druagr are viking undead, who may have come back for vengeance, or to fulfill a pledge, or if he is a son who has disappointed his father.

B is for Brunnmigi. In Norse mythology, a troll like being who defiles wells. It is also a kenning applied to foxes.

C is for Changeling. A changeling is a fairy child left in place of a human child stolen by the fairies.

You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram if you want to see more stuff like this of my art that is not directly OSR related.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Introducing Hawkmoor the OSR Game!

For the past few years I have been working on a game combining elements of old-school rules and boiling them down into a single game night experience for family and friends. Basically the goal was to be able to play the original fantasy RPG without the commitment of a long term campaign, and without complication so that everyone could fit it into their schedule on game night.

Hawkmoor is the original edition rules you know and love, condensed into a quick simple cooperative game experience.

The first goal was to make set up very fast. Whenever starting a new campaign everyone sitting around creating characters takes up most of the first game session. This is one of the longest steps other than the dozens of hours of thought and labor the GM puts into creating the adventure setting in the first place, but I'll get to that in a bit. How do you speed up character creation? You can only simplify the stats and options so much before you start losing flavor, so the fastest way is to use pre-generated characters.

I know, not everyone loves pre-gens, so the Hawkmoor RPG book does have complete character generation rules for those interested. For fast set-up the game has a selection of six basic characters. This led to one of the first big design decisions, putting the characters on cards in a deck that could be shuffled and dealt out randomly or use an alternate system which allows players to choose.

This was version 1.0 of the character sheet. You can see a lot of simplification, like ability scores only have their modifiers not their base number. Other stats have been boiled down to Initiative (the boot), Hit Points (the heart), Armor Class (the shield), Melee Attack Bonus (the sword), Ranged Attack Bonus (the bow), and Saving Throw (the star), and everything is baked in; for example no rolling for hit points each level. Also levels have been capped at 5. But why would it need up to 5 levels if the game is only designed to be played in a single evening?

Fast advancement was key to keeping the game engaging and have casual appeal. Most of the play testing was done with my kids and occasionally with my game group. And my kids definitely were much more into the game when they could advance their characters quickly. Also, I found older players enjoying it too.

Looking at this character sheet you can see how you could take this card and play it as is in most of your favorite OSR games, like Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, Adventurer Conqueror King, or those published by Night Owl; Warriors of the Red Planet (a little elf action on Mars!), and others. This started out as a generically useful card.

And that is character selection. There are six in total: Human Paladin, Dwarf Fighter, Elf Magic User, Hoblet Burglar, Human Cleric, and the Elf Ranger.

Hoblet is the new character race included in the core RPG book. You might be able to guess what they are like.

It's not enough to have a great game system, it should be coupled with a compelling world. I've been developing a high fantasy setting as well to go with it. A world once dominated by a great empire that is now falling into ruin. Skies sundered by dark sorceries and an aerial kingdom ruled by knights on winged beasts. A land that has seen much of its oceans drained leaving vast canyons and deep underground chasms filled with beasts from an ancient time, and their treasure. But, more on that later.

I'll be posting more previews in the coming weeks on this game up till publication. Let me know what you think in the comments section below, or join the Hawkmoor group by clicking here and get advance notice and access to other goodies as they are made available.